Saturday, April 27, 2019

John Beggs - from Fermanagh to Indiana - another Ulster-Scots distiller

The blog These Pre-Pro Whiskey Men by Jack Sullivan is a terrific resource (link here). John Beggs (1832–1904) was born in Ballinamallard in County Fermanagh, his parents Edward Beggs and Elizabeth Gibson.

John emigrated to Cincinatti aged just 10 years old. He learned the distillery business about 20 miles south in the river town of New Richmond, Ohio, under a David Gibson. This history of New Richmond says that Gibson owned a distillery there from 1842–1858, and later moved into the steamboat business.

John Beggs eventually ended up in Shelbyville in Indiana where he established a distilling empire which was continued by his sons after his death. At its peak, the business included the Commercial Distilling Company of Terre Haute, said to have been the largest in America at the time.

• All three of the Beggs men feature here in Men of Indiana (1901)
The Book O Beggs is an interesting genealogy from 1914, detailing a number of strands of the family including some in Indiana (online here)

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